Birth Injury Claims

Many of us are lucky enough to have experienced and know the overwhelming joy that accompanies the birth of a child.

Life is changed forever: the sleepless nights, the growing child, its ailments that are constant cause of anxiety, learning to read, going to school, to work and leaving the nest.

Things that most will take for granted.

Tragically, however, things can sometimes (thankfully very rarely) go wrong, whether during the pregnancy or at the birth, whether to the mother or child, and the outcome may be completely devastating.

If the harm sustained is the result of clinical (medical) negligence, although it is likely to be the last thing on anyone’s mind, a claim for compensation can be made.

Some Pregnancy related conditions – prior to labour

Wrongful birth – i.e. giving birth to a child which, had the correct tests been done or done properly, would have caused the parents to choose to have a termination, but in fact instead resulted in the birth of a child with e.g. Downs syndrome, spina bifida etc.

Pre-eclampsia – a more frequently arising and serious condition than many people think, involving a placental defect and thus a danger to the child, urgent intervention to deliver the child, invariably by C section, is usually required.

Labour related conditions

Cerebral palsy – a condition resulting from oxygen deprivation during delivery

Episiotomy – an incision or cut made to facilitate easier (natural) delivery; if performed inadequately can lead to serious consequences, or indeed if it is not performed at all, when it should have been

Erb’s Palsy/Brachial Plexus – if the child is large and for example no episiotomy is performed (or elective C section advised and arranged) when it was foreseeable that the delivery would be difficult as a result, serious injury such as partial paralysis can occur (or even death).

Forceps or Ventouse – a difficult decision often has to be made as to how to assist the delivery if is prolonged due to insufficient dilation or the child’s size; if the clinician makes the wrong choice between forceps and ventouse, the child can be scarred or (infrequently) sustain nerve damage.

After the birth

Tongue tie – a slightly controversial topic since there is debate about this but it is not unusual for the tongue to be attached to the palate by a thin membrane or tissue which may not recede but cause lasting speech deficiency; a very simple, almost painless snip of the membrane when the baby is only a few weeks or months old (no anaesthetic required of any sort) can cure this however it may be difficult to convince your Doctor of the need for the “surgery”.

Hip dysplasia – this condition is believed to be inherited and can be serious if not detected at birth (or at the regular routine post-birth developmental checks in the first 9 months of life) and treated quickly (when a good outcome can usually be expected).

Time limits and next steps?

Ordinarily an injured person has three years to commence a claim at Court but children have until their 21st birthday and there are other complicated rules which may extend the period in exceptional circumstances.

Lloyd Green are experts in clinical negligence claims and can help you, by listening to you, giving you simple to understand advice, and getting to the issues in the case that matter quickly, to ensure that if a claim can be made, it will be handled as professionally and expertly as possible.